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on July 24, 2013 :
I was pleasantly surprised when reading “The Eighth Power: Book I” by Paul Lytle. I am a very picky reader but was able to enjoy both the writing style as well as the story presented. Not only was the story original, but I also enjoyed that the plot was not predictable, and that the characters weren’t stereotypical. Although there were a few spelling/grammar errors, which can happen in even the most renown author’s books, the writing style was intelligent, not overly descriptive or flowery, and written with just enough old English style that it was easily comprehensible and didn’t require re-reading of sentences, or pausing for coherence, but properly conveyed the time period and world that Lytle was creating. The map was helpful in the narrative, and the belief system, and gods were intriguing and intricate, yet easy to comprehend and logical. I have already procured copies of the next 4 books in the series and am eager to see where this author takes the reader.
(review of free book)
on May 20, 2013 :
Excellent tale. Left me wanting more. Looking forward to the rest of the series.
The idea of the antagonist being the "Absence" of things is a fresh take.
Character development is slow, but with so much to establish in the first book I think anymore would have been too much to keep up with.
I look forward to exploring the land with this author.
This is definitely an author to keep an eye on. I expect great things.
The “archaic” sentence construction (as referenced by Matthew Ryan’s review) is something that does need a little work. I think less use would still get the same feel across. I think it belongs, just not to the extent it has been used.
(review of free book)
Matthew D. Ryan
on April 03, 2013 :
“The Eighth Power: Book I: The Book of the Living” by Paul Lytle is a reasonably short fantasy novel telling the story of a farmer named Barrin Iylin and his newborn son, Ayrim. This being the first book in the series, much of the story is focused on Barrin, but it is clear the series itself will be focused on Ayrim. This book seems almost like a prequel, providing the set up for what will surely follow.
The story is pretty basic. It’s a fantasy world populated by men and a nefarious race of creatures called ern. An integral part of the world are the Prophets (Mages or Wizards, depending on what you want to call them), each of whom is a master of a single elemental form of magic. There are six gods, one for each elemental form of magic, and, something which I found quite creative, a being/non-being called the Absence. The Absence is basically what emerged from nothingness in the absence of the other gods (He explains it better—I just thought it was kind of cool).
Anyway, the story begins with the deaths of two Prophets (spoiler alert). Because they died, there power goes out into the world to enter two newborns. This sets off a race between the forces of good and the forces of darkness to find these newborns. Ayrim Iylin is born on the correct day, but according to the Prophet that finds him, is not one of the newborn Prophets. However, the forces of darkness are not taking any chances and are bent on killing ALL babies born on that day. So, Barrin is thrust into a situation where he must see to the safety of his newborn son, or die trying.
Strengths: For one, this book came with a map which is always a plus. It’s always fun to follow a story along a map as it progresses. Also, there were a number of interesting ideas in the book; as I mentioned above, I was particularly intrigued by the Absence. Weaknesses: well, I take the most issue with the writing. I will say that Paul Lytle has potential, but his skills aren’t quite there yet. His thoughts had a tendency to ramble on in a few places, and he also had a tendency to use archaic constructions (that can work, sometimes, but he over did it and the book became a chore to read). By archaic, I mean taking a sentence like “He was tall,” and changing it to “Tall, he was,” and doing that throughout the book. I think Tolkien did that sometimes, but it worked for Tolkien. Here it just bogged down the story.
Overall, I’ll give this book two stars out of five.
(review of free book)